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Café Philo DC
"Are We Living in a Constant State of Fear?"

Cost: Free
No Registration Required

Café Philo DC is a moderated, philosophical roundtable discussion for the general public founded by Ken Feldman in 1999. Modeled on the Parisian prototype, the event welcomes all philosophically curious people to discuss the big questions in life. Topics usually encourage the practical application of philosophical principles. Past topics include: Am I sane? Does knowledge inhibit the imagination? What is humor? Is mathematics merely a human construct? Who belongs to that voice in my head? Does freedom of choice enslave us? Should atheists proselytize? and Is romance a necessary illusion?


Discussions usually take place on the 2nd and 4th Saturdays of the month and are complemented by a Yahoo discussion list called Café Philo DC Dialogue at Please contact Ken Feldman at with questions and requests to be placed on the listserv for meetings and background material relevant to each topic.

Moderator for Saturday's discussion:

Ruth Schimel

Background: Now that 9/11 is more than a decade past, have our invidious politics helped to aggravate and rationalize our fear of each other, especially where racial, ethnic and value differences are clear, even more than Al-Qaeda and terrorism generally? Has the focus shifted to fearing the 'other,' who may be our neighbor, co-worker, or stranger, more than an 'other' (perceived enemy) who is more geographically remote? What really explains the fear -- and often hatred -- of immigrants, racial minorities, and others who are different from some of us? These issues pose deeper, philosophical -- and psychological -- questions regarding the relation between risk perception and fear. Is much of the fear that dogs us rooted in realistic, or mistaken, appraisals of danger and risk? Does the focus on gun violence, bad as it is, elide the greater problem of Americans' historical predisposition toward -- and unseemly toleration of (for a self-proclaimed 'advanced and/or exceptional' democracy) -- myriad forms of violence, ranging from harsh, rude and egocentric daily behavior to reckless driving that is responsible for more death and injury than guns? Are we overly blasé about the latter? In short, does fear, as much as a bullet to the spine, paralyze the human spirit in a different but, individually and socially, destructive way of its own?

Event Contact
Ken Feldman AB'74 Philosophy

Staff Liaison
Mari Meyer


Event Information
Saturday, Jan 12 2013 at 1:00pm - 3:00pm [ iCal ]
Tenley-Friendship Neighborhood Library (medium conference room)
4450 Wisconsin Ave, NW
Washington,, DC 20016 United States
[ Get Directions ]